February 14th, 2014
10:09 PM ET

Billionaire Tom Perkins: Pay a million in taxes, "get a million votes"

"The War on the 1%." That was the name of an event in San Francisco Thursday night attended by nearly 300 people, where billionaire Tom Perkins again claimed that the rich in America are under attack.

This wasn't the first time that Perkins sparked controversy.

Tom Perkins: Taxes will lead to 'economic extinction' of the 1%

The venture capitalist compared the vilification of the rich to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.

He has apologized for that extreme comment but is doubling down on the sentiment.

His latest idea: if you have more money, you should get more votes.

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get the vote if you don't pay a dollar in taxes" Perkins said. "But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars, you get a million votes."

Perkins later said his intent was to be outrageous, but he's not the only member of the one percent fighting back.

Billionaire investor Sam Zell and and Bud Konheim, the CEO of the fashion company Nicole Miller, also grabbed headlines for defending the rich.

"This country should not talk about envy of the one percent, they should talk about emulating the one percent," Zell said. "The one percent works harder."

"We've got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world," Konheim told CNBC. "So we're talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this."

"The guy that's making, oh my God, $35,000 a year...Why don't we try that out in India or some country we can't even name....China, anyplace, that guy is wealthy."

Is there really a war on the one percent?

OutFront: Conservative Columnist Reihan Salam and Democratic Strategist Paul Begala.

Filed under: News
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Joey at Purdue Univ

    "Though paper can't change a man's aura,
    It can feed a man's daughter.
    I stand for the blue collar, on the side makin' a few dollars..."

    March 11, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  2. Joey at Purdue Univ

    "There’s lots of luck. Just being born in the United States in 1930 the odds were 30-to-1 against me. I didn’t have anything to do with picking the United States as I emerged. And having decent genes for certain things. I was sort of wired for capital allocation, and being wired for capital allocation two hundred years ago in Nebraska wouldn’t have meant a thing...

    "It didn't have to happen that way. If I had been born in 1913, if I'd have been born female, if I'd have been born black, I would not have had the same opportunities. It's just chance." (Warren Buffett, re: his success)

    February 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  3. Joey at Purdue Univ

    Paul Piff, TEDxMarin: "I want you to, for a moment, think about playing a game of Monopoly, except in this game, that combination of skill, talent and luck that help earn you success in games, as in life, has been rendered irrelevant, because this game's been rigged, and you've got the upper hand. You've got more money, more opportunities to move around the board, and more access to resources. And as you think about that experience, I want you to ask yourself, how might that experience of being a privileged player in a rigged game change the way that you think about yourself and regard that other player?

    So we ran a study on the U.C. Berkeley campus to look at exactly that question. We brought in more than 100 pairs of strangers into the lab, and with the flip of a coin randomly assigned one of the two to be a rich player in a rigged game. They got two times as much money. When they passed Go, they collected twice the salary, and they got to roll both dice instead of one, so they got to move around the board a lot more...

    Okay, and here's what I think was really, really interesting, is that at the end of the 15 minutes, we asked the players to talk about their experience during the game. And when the rich players talked about why they had inevitably won in this rigged game of Monopoly -

    They talked about what they'd done to buy those different properties and earn their success in the game, and they became far less attuned to all those different features of the situation, including that flip of a coin that had randomly gotten them into that privileged position in the first place."

    February 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  4. Jeff Townsend

    No Mr. Perkins most of the population in the United States's is not at war with the rich .its how they get rich is the issue. We have a special way of life it the USA it's called the middle class and when it disappears we no better off than China Mexico. As long as the 1% invest in cheap labor markets and we import the poverty from said markets the USA is doomed to a economy like them going forward. Tell your rich friends the people do not have a problem with the rich it's how they get rich.

    February 15, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Reply

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